18 DIY Toddler Toys Ideas

Cheap Homemade Toddler Toys and Activities: Easy DIY Solutions for Busy Parents

As winter settles in, you’ll find yourself spending more time indoors. With the biting cold forcing hibernation, creativity in finding indoor activities becomes essential. Surprisingly, your children might show a preference for playing with household items, even more than their toys. Explore these affordable homemade toy ideas that can be made from everyday items, perfect for babies and toddlers during this chilly season.

Decorate Your Letters with Vibrant Dot Stickers

Decorate Your Letters with Vibrant Dot Stickers

Spice up your letters with attention-grabbing neon dot stickers, available at Walmart for just $1.00. Alternatively, you can purchase 1,000 primary colored dot stickers on Amazon for under $5.00, ensuring a long-lasting supply! Use these affordable stickers to make your correspondence stand out and leave a lasting impression.

Beads, Yarn, and Plastic Needles

Beads, Yarn, and Plastic Needles

Engaging in beading activities can be highly beneficial for children aged 2.5-4 years. Affordable supplies like plastic needles, yarn, wooden beads, and tiny hoops can be found at local craft stores or online retailers for under $5.

To make the activity even more exciting, use extra brown “netting” from a cabinet liner or find some on Amazon. A plastic needle or even an old shoelace makes threading beads much easier for young children. You can also try using pipe cleaners, which allow for creative flexibility without the need for a plastic needle.

Besides offering entertainment, beading and threading activities help develop fine motor pincher grasp. This skill is essential for children to hold a pencil correctly in the future. Not only is it enjoyable, but it’s educational too.

 Clothespins

 Clothespins

Between the ages of 2 and 3, children can often start using clothespins. Smaller crafting clothespins available at stores like Walmart can be easier for them to handle. You can let your child explore different ways to clip the clothespins, such as:

  • cardboard
  • old cereal boxes
  • hair
  • fingers
  • string
  • necklaces
  • the edge of their shirt

Plastic clips can also serve the same purpose while improving fine motor skills, and they tend to last longer than wooden clothespins, which can break easily.

It’s interesting to note that engaging in activities such as creating paint chip color gradients can help young children understand the concept of shades and colors. However, this may not work for every child, so you could let them have a more organic learning experience.

Reusing Baby Wipes Containers for Toddler Play

Reusing Baby Wipes Containers for Toddler Play

Around 15-24 months of age, children are typically fascinated with baby wipes containers due to the push button and the lid popping open. They enjoy placing different objects inside, pressing the button to close it, and repeating the process. Eventually, your child may need assistance in opening the container to retrieve the items, but with time, they will learn to open or extract objects themselves.

A baby wipes container can hold an endless variety of items, including:

  • Milk bottle caps
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cloth scraps
  • Coins
  • Playing cards
  • Small toys
  • Building blocks
  • Bouncy balls

Remember to avoid using any small items that could pose a choking hazard, especially when your child is playing in the bathroom while you shower. Embrace this fun, simple, and engaging activity for your toddler to enjoy.

Straws in Holes

Straws in Holes

You can make use of large straws found at stores like Walmart for just a dollar. They’re great not just for smoothies but also as a fun activity with block containers. These containers usually have a shape sorting lid, perfect for inserting the straws. Alternatively, you can create a DIY shape sorter by cutting holes in the top of an old oatmeal container. Enjoy this simple and affordable pastime!

 Forts

 Forts

In case nothing else works, place your beloved toys in a fort, as forts have the ability to enhance the enjoyment factor.

Conceal the Straws

Place five vibrant straws around a room, letting your toddler search for them. While any beloved item will work, using a new object such as a pack of vivid plastic straws or a set of colorful erasers adds excitement!

Water at the Sink

Water at the Sink

While preparing a meal, set up a fun water activity for your toddler. Place a beach towel under the chair they’re standing on to catch any spills. Embrace the inevitable water mess – it’s just water, after all. This engaging activity can keep your toddler occupied for up to 30 minutes!

Toss & Retrieve Race

In this activity, use 5 to 10 large, lightweight items such as stuffed animals or measuring spoons. Scatter them around and then race to collect them as quickly as possible. Avoid using small items like beads for safety reasons.

Muffin Tins & Buttons

Muffin Tins & Buttons

Toddlers see the combination of muffin tins and buttons as an exciting new toy. Take advantage of this!

Place the items somewhere unexpected, like the living room floor, to encourage self-discovery. Consider adding a small wooden spoon or kitchen scoopers to the mix.

Kids often prefer using real household items over play kitchen toys. Embrace this preference for a fun and engaging activity.

Money Activities

Money Activities

Engage your young ones in these enjoyable money activities:

  • Sort coins by color (silver & copper)
  • Organize only quarters and dimes by size
  • Transfer coins between containers
  • Insert coins into a piggy bank one by one

Toddlers around 1-2 years old are especially fascinated by piggy banks. They love dropping coins into the slot and emptying the bank afterwards. Instead of purchasing expensive toys, create a piggy bank by repurposing an old oatmeal or coffee container. Fun and budget-friendly!

 Knives!

 Knives!

At around 2 and a half years old, toddlers tend to develop a strong desire to help in the kitchen. Simply pretending to cook alongside you is no longer enough for them. This can be handled safely by involving them in age-appropriate tasks.

Introduce a serrated dip-spreader and emphasize that it’s a grown-up knife meant only for bigger kids. Discuss the importance of using this specific knife and avoiding others. Remember not to actually let children play with dangerous knives.

Allowing toddlers to cut soft items like cooked noodles, melon, bread, or bananas with a butter knife can be a helpful learning experience. This activity can keep them focused, quiet, and engaged, making it a win-win for everyone!

Pipe Cleaners & Objects with Small Holes

Pipe Cleaners & Objects with Small Holes

Your 2-year-old may enjoy inserting short pipe cleaners into the holes of a parmesan cheese shaker, costing only $1 from the dollar store. This activity helps develop fine motor skills and keeps your little one entertained. Additionally, some suggestions for other engaging activities include:

  • Sticking toothpicks in the cheese shaker
  • Inserting pipe cleaners into a colander
  • Placing toothpicks into an old spice container

Incorporating these inexpensive, simple activities into your child’s playtime can help build fine motor skills while having fun.

Recycled Containers

Recycled Containers

Utilizing empty plastic bottles can provide endless fun for kids. They are excellent, cost-effective toys suitable for various activities like baths, games, and creative crafts.

Consider storing a collection of cleaned plastic containers, such as old spice jars or grated parmesan containers, perfect for engaging playtime activities. They are especially popular for their flip-up lids that allow water to pour out through tiny holes, bringing joy to children.

Remember to refresh the container collection by recycling the old ones and adding new ones. This way, you offer your little ones eco-friendly, entertaining, and reusable toys without spending a dime.

 Cutting Straws

 Cutting Straws

Encourage your toddler to practice cutting by providing straws and toddler-friendly scissors. Transform the freshly cut straw pieces into “beads” for threading onto pipe cleaners or shoelaces.

Pillows

Pillows

Children around the age of two simply adore diving into piles of pillows. This activity provides them with at least 30 minutes of joy while you’re preparing dinner, as it allows them to periodically check if Dad has returned home.

When you have the luxury of more living space, consider investing in a large, 5-foot square foam jumping pillow. This phenomenal accessory is ideal for little ones to leap onto from furniture, and is sure to be the highlight of their Christmas day.

Dry Erase Markers

Dry Erase Markers

While working on a project, you may choose to use dry erase markers with construction paper placed inside page protectors. To prevent slipping, secure the protectors with painters tape. These tools offer an exciting, mess-free experience for children as well.

A younger child, for example, may enjoy using a mini dry erase board and marker. Although it can occasionally get on walls or furniture, it’s not a concern because there are chemical-free solutions available, such as Norwex, that can effortlessly remove marker stains. This magical solution can clean even the toughest stains like sharpie marks, grime, and spaghetti sauce. A single container can last for years, making it a great investment.

 Sticker Line Up

 Sticker Line Up

Keep your toddler engaged with a fun dot sticker activity. By peeling the background off for them, 2-year-olds can easily remove the dots themselves. Enjoy this effortless and entertaining pastime.

Summary

Creating affordable homemade toddler toys and activities can be simple and engaging. Utilize everyday household items, such as cardboard boxes, empty containers, or fabric scraps, to craft entertaining and educational experiences for your young ones without breaking the bank.

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